Category Archives: Folk

Villagers – A Trick Of The Light (2018)

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‘Trick Of The Light’ is the first release from Villagers’ forthcoming album The Art Of Pretending To Swim. The track opens to a steady pulse and quickly creates a groove that is more than slightly R&B. The folk returns as the song progresses and Conor O’Brien chases ‘A Trick Of The Light’.

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Sweet Baboo – Let’s Go Swimming Wild (2013)

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The talented Stephen Black is a singer-songwriter from Wales. In 2013, he released the quirky album Ships on Moshi Moshi Records. ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ gives listeners a slightly psychedelic flavour of Sweet Baboo.
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Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat (1971)

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After over 6 years of daily blogging, you don’t get many more opportunities to post your favourite songs of all time. ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ is from Leonard Cohen’s third album, Songs of Love and Hate, released in 1971. It’s a about a love triangle between Jane, Leonard, his “brother”/his “killer”. The famous blue raincoat in question is a Burberry that Cohen bought in London in the late 1950s. A slightly less cool fact is about that hook line that accompanies the lyric “Jane came by with a lock of your hair, she said…”. It is identical to the one used by writers Hammond and Bayer Sager for the chorus on Leo Sayer’s ‘When I Need You’. It still makes me mad.

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Sufjan Stevens – Mystery of Love (2017)

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Last week, Sufjan Stevens released a new video for his song ‘Mystery of Love’, which he penned for the Luca Guadagnino film Call Me By Your Name. This is Sufjan, near his etherial best.

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Van Morrison – Sweet Thing (1968)

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In this week leading up to Christmas, I will feature some tracks that need no introduction.
Van Morrison’s ‘Sweet Thing’ off 1968’s Astral Weeks.

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Big Thief – Masterpiece (2016)

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And now to a different strand of the mythical folk rock genre. Brooklyn’s Big Thief balances the singer-songwriter’s storytelling with indie rock. Their debut album’s title track ‘Masterpiece’ sums it up. Adrianne Lenker sings: “There’s only so much letting go you can ask someone to do.”

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John Joseph Brill – I’m Not Alright (2017)

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Keeping to the contemporary theme this week… there is more than a slight resemblance of Matt Berninger’s baritone and his dystopian outlook in today’s sound. But this is not The National; instead I present Londoner John Joseph Brill’s recent single ‘I’m Not Alright’.

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9 of the best – sounds of noughties

It would seem that 2004 was peak noughties (to these ears…):

The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

 The Strokes – Modern Age (2001)

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize? (2002)

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons (2003)

The Walkmen – The Rat (2004)

Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (2004)

Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla (2005)

 Midlake – Bandits (2006)

Beirut – Nantes (2007)

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Honourable mentions also go to: Lambchop for ‘Up With The People’ (2000); Outkast for ‘Ms. Jackson’ (2000); Ian Brown for ‘F. E. A. R.’ (2001); The Shins for ‘New Slang‘ (2002); Kings Of Leon for ‘Red Morning Light‘ (2003); Radiohead for ‘A Wolf At The Door’ (2003); Mew for ‘Comforting Sounds’ (2003); Kasabian for ‘Club Foot’ (2004); Danger Mouse for his remix of ‘Public Service Announcement’ (2004); The Good, the Bad and the Queen for ‘Herculean’ (2006); The Hold Steady for ‘The Chillout Tent‘ (2006); The Strokes for ‘You Only Live Once’ (2006); and Jay Electronica for ‘Exhibit C’ (2009).

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Beirut – Elephant Gun (2007)

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Ten years ago, Beirut were in their pomp. Originally a musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon, the band’s first performance was in New York in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. By January 2007,  they carried their critical acclaim into the release of their first EP Lon Gisland. Its opening track ‘Elephant Gun’ again combined elements of indie rock and world music so successfully. Prodigious stuff; Condon was still only 20. Have a great week.

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Nick Drake – River Man (1969)

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‘River Man’ is the second song from Nick Drake’s 1969 album Five Leaves Left. Listen, absorb, cry. “Gonna see the river man/Gonna tell him all I can/About the plan/For lilac time.”

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Badly Drawn Boy – Once Around The Block (1999)

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Badly Drawn Boy’s album The Hour of Bewilderbeast seemingly came out of nowhere in 2000. Critics told us that he took his cues from from Harry Nilsson and Beck. Listeners simply found themselves lost in the observational baroque pop of Damon Gough. ‘Once Around The Block’ was released a year earlier as the first single off the album.

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Andrew Bird – Oh No (2009)

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‘Oh No’ is the opening track off Andrew Bird’s 2009 album Noble Beast. A classically trained violinist and a pervasive whistler, he successfully combines the two talents into a pop song that The Shins would be proud of. Have a great week.

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Nick Mulvey – Cucurucu (2013)

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The singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey is a founding member of the band Portico Quartet. ‘Cucurucu’ was his fourth release after leaving the group in 2011 to go solo. It features on his first studio album First Mind, which, like the work of Portico Quartet, also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Mulvey has previously revealed that the song’s title is a meaningless noise a child would make, but to these ears, the salsa-infused sound has more to do with the time he spent studying music in Havana. A salsa infusion as it would be sung by Ian Brown, that is.

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Father John Misty – Pure Comedy (2017)

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For Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) channels Elton John throughout the six minutes of ‘Pure Comedy’, the title track off his upcoming album release, due out in April. Tillman’s songwriting looks as if it’s going to be very topical.

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